By Lars Trodson
J.D. Salinger may have been the last post-war American writer left on the scene. Mailer is dead; Schulberg died last year. Styron is gone. Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams -- gone, gone, gone. The roadside juke joint is closing and the last cigarette has been extinguished. You better drink down that rye, boy, and hit the road. Fast.
The soldier’s uniform, the one left over from The War, stopped fitting long ago, but it was kept in the closet for memory’s sake. But it may just be that no one wants it any more. We’ve got our own war to fight, don’t you know, and sentimentality is getting harder and harder to come by. We’re so connected today that we don’t get a chance to miss those people we knew a long time ago, even if we never liked them and never even talked about them. Can you believe that so-and-so friended you on Facebook?
Gatsby, who turned out all right in the end, had his garden defaced by a mild epithet after he had died, and Holden Caulfield, who admired old Gatsby, the old sport, was offended by the epithet he found at the Museum of Modern Art. Neither word would offend anybody today, and so the most famous literary figure from the post-World War I era and the most famous literary figure from the post-World War II era -- linked by some petty scribble on a wall -- are sinking under our self-imposed 15 minute rule.